Learning is an intensely personal, messy journey.
Because of the way the web tends to work, often with homogeneous groups clustering around concepts and perspectives they already love, I suspect that most of the people who read the DML Research Hub tweet, above, nodded knowingly before they retweeted it or moved on to the next one in their feed. But if you stop to think about it, “Learning is an intensely personal, messy journey” is not the way a lot of people think about learning or education.
Until a few years ago, I certainly didn’t think of it that way. There was nothing personal or student-centered about a perfect score on a standardized test. And messiness, uncertainty, vulnerability, struggle – those were all indications of a lack of professionalism or preparation, depending on the context. My discomfort with the personal, messy nature of learning has played itself out in my relationship with my own blog. Out of necessity, my blog is a place for me to struggle and experiment. But just because vulnerability is necessary for learning doesn’t mean I’ve always worn my struggles like honor ribbons. As a student and occasional teacher I find myself confronting my habits of instruction-centeredness all the time. I have to remind myself that it’s acceptable to struggle publicly while learning; to value process knowledge, reflective practice, and meta analysis over content acquisition; to concentrate on projects that suit my interests; and to question and occasionally challenge my doctoral program requirements and cultural expectations. I’m fighting to transform my own assumptions about learning–a paradigm of depersonalized, compartmentalized learning–all the time.
As I struggle to adopt a kinder, more holistic, inclusive, flexible, and joyful framework for education (my own and others), I find Connected Learning to be an ongoing source of inspiration. I am very excited to participate in #ConnectedCourses because I need as much exposure to the concepts as I can get; exposure leads to confrontation of current beliefs, and ultimately transformation. That, plus the people leading the sessions write some pretty interesting stuff 🙂